Monday, April 04, 2005

Hello Sleepless!!

Some fun facts regarding insomnia, the National Sleep Foundation (!?) has linked sleep deprivation to a joyful panoply of ailments such as obesity, high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, job, and road. Other side effects include Horn-in-the-head, deep ambivalence, the ability to taste through the soles of the feet and increased vulnerability to small-arms fire. Did I mention that snoring is fatal? That alone should keep you up.

Another bunch of white-coats down at the UCSD School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Healthcare System applied some sci-fi shit called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI!!!) technology to monitor activity in the brains of sleep-deprived subjects while they performed simple verbal learning tasks . The temporal lobe, a brain region involved with language and shit like that was activated during verbal learning in rested subjects but not in sleep deprived subjects. Additionally, a region of the brain called the parietal lobes, not activated in rested subjects during the verbal exercise, was more active (re: kickass) when the subjects were deprived of sleep. Although subjects’ memory performance was less efficient with sleep deprivation, greater activity in the parietal region was associated with better memory and longer lasting fresh breath.

However.

In an earlier study, the team studied sleep-deprived subjects performing an arithmetic (arithmetical? arithmeticulous? math?) task involving subtraction. In that study, they observed that the brain regions activated in rested subjects were not active in the sleep-deprived subjects. No other region of the brain became activated when subjects performed arithmetic when sleep-deprived. Subjects had fewer correct answers and omitted more responses when sleepy than when rested. They also never called their mother, sent thank you cards or got laid until their "dirty" thirties.

Also note:
After being awake for 17 to 19 hours (weak!) drivers performed worse than those with a blood alcohol level of .05 percent. That's the legal limit for drunk driving in most western European countries, though the United States of Besotted Drunkards set their blood alcohol limits a little higher (.08 percent). So, you know, feel free to stay up that extra 17 to 19 hours while cruising the good ol’ U.S. of A in your Humvee or one of those Cowboy Cadillacs.

On the other hand sleep deprivation –sleep dep to its familiars—can be a formidable weapon in the war against giving a shit. Imagine if you will a flowering sun of solipsism blooming in the midst of a sepia-tinted world, a world that grows ever more fatally distant and unreal. A world in which dreams, denied their conventional outlet, bleed surreptitiously into waking and day blends seamlessly into dreaming.

Maybe not quite that crazy sounding, after all it’s not trepanation or anything.

Sure some people have gone insane, had psychotic breaks, ran with Shadow People but there are also cases like that of Feodor Nesterchuk, a Ukrainian man who has gone perfectly well without sleep for the last 20 years.

Ok, there are about 8760 hours in any given year. Maybe 8784 on a Leap Year, I’ll be frank; I don’t know or care how that works. Anyway, boring people sleep about one-third of their day, for a grand tally of 2920 hours a year. This borscht-sucking vodka genius on the other hand has lived an extra fifty-eight thousand four hundred hours than any other man of equal age (2920 multiplied by 20). Now divide that by 8760 and you come up with six point six repeating. Six, almost seven, years of bonus life to do with as you please. Yes, that’s 42 in dog years.

What would you do with an extra 6 years?

3 Comments:

Blogger Jonathan said...

*Yawn* I think this blog would cure any insomniac. Time to go to work and make my snaps.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

punish the smartasses of the world

12:26 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Hey Hans, why don't you have emeritus after your name? Maybe I read the memo wrong, but aren't you up for that in a couple years, or don't they give those to undergrads?

Ooh...Snap Attack!

6:40 PM  

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